A class of twenty community members (including employees of Grand Haven Area Public Schools and the City of Grand Haven) completed an 8-Week Institute for Racial Healing from February 06 to March 26, 2012. The venue was provided by Grand Haven Area Public School's Education Service Center. This Institute was partially funded by the Grand Haven Area Community Foundation.
"The idea that each person's experiences and feelings are unique must be honored. It is from these places that we begin the dialogue."
"For the first time in my life I had the chance to talk about racism with people of color. It opened my eyes."
"I was blind to all of this before. I thought this was all a thing of the past. I was wrong."
"I've been able to better understand racism from those who have personally experienced it on a regular basis."
"I felt a 'good' type of uncomfortable. I've been boosted to want to learn more, listen, and become educated."
"I learned that racism is something that people of color deal with everyday."
"This has changed me for the better and softened my heart towards those who suffer."
"[I learned that] each person's experiences and feels are unique and must be honored. It is from these places that we begin the dialogue."
Participant Action Plans
At the end of the Institute, participants are asked to pledge three tangible personal and institutional activities they can commit to in the months following the course. Below are some examples:
I pledge to review and evaluate workplace policies regarding bias-based practices.
I pledge to engage and speak openly with my kids about racism.
I pledge to stand up for any student or staff who may be mistreated or misrepresented.
I pledge to speak out against racism in my home and at work. I will talk about racial issues with my kids and be an advocate.
I pledge to educate my co-workers about these issues so they can also include discussions in their classrooms.
I pledge to teach history with integrity and respect.
I pledge to embrace differences and become intentionally involved in more diverse experiences.
I pledge to meet my neighbors of color - to grow and engage in authentic relationships.
I pledge to deconstruct my views of people and ensure they are not influenced by internalized racism.
I pledge to create at least one experience per month in which my kids interact with another family from another race.
I pledge to REALLY listen, speak out, even when it is uncomfortable.